Petitions aim to prevent DNR from killing swans

April 29, 2003

An Eastern Shore group is collecting signatures on petitions to persuade the Maryland Department of Natural Resources to cancel plans to shoot up to 1,500 mute swans this year.

DNR announced plans last week to have state agents shoot up to 1,500 of the estimated 3,600 swans on the Shore, saying the birds were imported into Maryland, crowd out other birds and eat huge quantities of aquatic grasses crucial to the Chesapeake Bay.

But Patrick Hornberger, a spokesman for the petition drive, said DNR lacks sufficient information about the swans and their role in the bay's ecology to justify shooting them.

His group, Save Maryland's Swans, will ask anyone signing the petitions to prohibit DNR from using their land to conduct future wildlife studies. The group also might join in a suit to block the hunt, he said.

Information is available on the group's Web site: www.savemarylandswans.org.

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